I like kids, for the most part.
As an employee of the local school system, I spend a lot of time with kids. I enjoy the goofy things they say, and the way they dance around living rooms babbling nonsense. I generally like their carefree demeanor, and the untainted way in which they see the world. Someday I can see myself being a mother, and a good one at that. But that doesn't mean I want to have kids any time (even remotely) soon.
That's because for the last week and half, I've been playing single-mom/nurse to my 21 year old sister who has had debilitating kidney stones. With both dad and mom out of town, Lisa got to step in as surrogate parent; a role I didn't anticipate being so completely draining. I truly empathize with my ailing sibling, because she really has been in pain. But I'm super tired of taking care of her.
A week of doing dishes, cleaning up her unending messes*, taking her to the doctor, then to the ER, then to the doctor, then doing the grocery shopping, then changing the cat litter, then walking the dog, then making every meal and picking up prescriptions has sent me straight to the same place I fear a lot of wives and mothers have been before: Desperation.
How do I know I'm desperate? Because today as I was leaving the gym, I sincerely wanted to text my dog. I thought, "I miss Tilly, she is my best friend and she understands. I wish I could text her." I know I'm desperate because I sing songs about what I'm making for lunch to an audience of two animals. I've barely showered, and only change out of pajamas in dire circumstances. Perhaps worst of all, I used a free rental at Blockbuster on "Chariots of Fire." Why I did that, I'll never know. It's a terrible movie that I turned off in order to watch back to back TLC specials on obese teenagers - which I actually morbidly enjoy.
Playing Mom to a 21 year old sister, a 4 year old terrier, and a 5 month old cat has almost no redeeming benefits. I mean, I suppose I can martyr myself in the hopes of garnering pity, but beyond that, there is nothing really in it for me. The cat is a constant, unceasing pain in the ass, the sister is high maintenance, and the dog requires more love and attention than I do. It's exhausting. And only the dog says Thank You.
As a child, you cannot possibly contemplate the extreme task of child-rearing. None of us asked to be born, but after we were, the asking never ends. We badger our parents from the moment we're conceived for nourishment, shelter, attention, entertainment, and love. When my mom used to tell me to stop bothering her because she was tired, I didn't believe her. Instead, I thought maybe she was punishing me for future crimes. Moms don't get tired, was the commonly held belief among children my age. Moms exist to serve me and and only me. Eff you, Mom for wanting to read a book without interruptions. Don't you recognize my need to dance in front of you? Why aren't you making me more macaroni and cheese? You selfish bitch.
Now I know how she felt. Good moms and dads are the superheroes of the world. Perhaps as an actual parent, as opposed to a stand-in, the barrage of requests isn't viewed as a list of chores. Perhaps having kids is rewarding.
It must be, right?
*You have no idea just how messy.